Before becoming a founder/CEO I had a lot more time to write, memorize lines, and perform my work. Whatever the genre, I’d spend hours researching a topic for technical pieces, plays, books, songs, or things that simply piqued my interest. I’d get in the zone and write for days. Sadly, it’s been a solid seven years since I’ve been able to really still away and focus on writing that next book and play simmering inside but I have been able to work on music (yay!). It’s kind of like being single, getting married, and having kids (or whatevah). The great thing is, I love what I do. I love being an artist, collaborating with other artists, and giving opportunities to those coming alongside me. I love being a storyteller, a visionary, and a practitioner if you will. I love being able to use all of my gifts.
It’s never easy, forging paths you haven’t seen done in your immediate environment. I am unaware of anyone in my family who has. We’ve all heard stories about people who strongly dislike and are unsatisfied with their jobs but stick with them because they have bills to pay. Well, thankfully, that’s not me. No shade. I completely understand those individuals. At one point I was them. But I decided to get out of the boat with no plan B (yikes). And I’ve been walking on water ever since (iykyk).
Trust me, the journey “ain’t been no crystal stair”. But when I see the young people we work with excited because they feel seen and heard or adults who thought they’d never get another chance to pursue their dreams, it makes my heart flutter exuberantly. So many success stories flood my mind. From the shy, timid students, some with speech impediments, to those speaking boldly before thousands. Families who feel like they’re on an island in their perspective neighborhoods, and schools, and see us as a place to build community. Or traveling to a conference, training, or seeing live performances for work. I could go on but the point is I’m blessed and grateful to do this work.
Let’s be honest. The arts have never gotten the love and respect it deserves. It’s underfunded and unappreciated, but how is this possible when art is all around us? When art is one of the major entities that kept so many of us going during the pandemic? It’s a mystery I shall never understand yet am completely ecstatic that I get to be a part of this community. And, even more, grateful to finally put out a project that both scares and excites me (more on that in a future post).